Cannabis Banking Working Group Members
California Bankers Association
Alex Alanis is vice president of government relations for the California Bankers Association (CBA). Alanis’ field of responsibility for CBA includes issues relating to bank operations, payment systems, financial privacy, data security, consumer lending, public contracting, identity theft, student loans and online banking.
Prior to joining CBA, Alanis served as a policy consultant for the Senate Republican Office of Policy and as the legislative director for Senate Republican Leader James Brulte. Prior to that, he was a consultant in the Senate Republican Fiscal Office and the legislative coordinator for the Fair Political Practices Commission. Alanis also was the chief consultant to former California State Senator Robert Beverly.
Alanis graduated from San Jose State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration and received his master’s degree in political management from The George Washington University.
California Community Banking Network
David Haithcock serves as the Executive Director of the California Community Banking Network (CCBN), and is also a senior staff member of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA). With nearly 25 years of industry experience, David has a unique combination of area expertise in advocacy, regulation, education and community banking.
Prior to CCBN and ICBA, David served as Director of Government Relations for GC Services/First Community Bancshares in Laguna Hills, Calif., where he provided guidance on public policy issues and spearheaded advocacy efforts. He has also served as Executive Director of the California Mortgage Bankers Association in Sacramento, Calif., where he was responsible for overall operations and administration. David began his career with ICBA in late 1993, where he served as Director of Bank Relations until 2001 and was responsible for working with bank executive officers and directors. David returned to CCBN & ICBA in April 2006.
David holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics with an emphasis in public policy from the University of California, Riverside. He presently lives in Huntington Beach with his wife Heather and three kids, Evan, Grant and Ava.
California and Nevada Credit Union League
Courtney Jensen is Vice President of State Government Affairs for the California & Nevada Credit Union Leagues, where she represents over 300 credit unions in California and Nevada and their more than ten million members. Courtney began at the Leagues in 2014 and her responsibilities include lobbying members of the California and Nevada Legislatures as well as regulators and departments in both states.
Prior to joining the Leagues, Courtney served as Legislative Director to California State Assembly member Ian Calderon focusing on Banking and Finance, Insurance, Business, Education, and Labor and Legislative Aide to California State Majority Leader Charles Calderon focusing on Banking and Finance, Insurance, and others. Courtney also served on the election campaigns of Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva and former State Senator Sam Blakeslee. Courtney holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo.
Board of Equalization
Fiona Ma serves as Chairwoman of the California State Board of Equalization, and is one of the few CPAs that have served on the Board. She represents 23 counties and upwards of 10 million Californians of the Second District. Ms. Ma was previously elected to represent the 12th Assembly District from December 2006 to November 2012 and served as the first Asian-American woman Assembly Speaker pro Tempore in California history. Ms. Ma has been committed to public service ever since she was a small business owner and was elected to serve as President of the Asian Businesses Association in San Francisco, where she quickly emerged as a leading voice for San Francisco's small business community. She was an elected delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business under President Bill Clinton, which produced a report to Congress on the 60 top policy recommendations to help small businesses grow and prosper in the 21st century.
Ms. Ma has been on the forefront of urging government leaders to address the challenges facing the cannabis industry, holding stakeholder meetings to discuss transportation, track and trace, and the most critical element – banking. She led the charge on legislation enacted last year that removes the requirement for electronic payments that unfairly penalizes the cannabis industry when paying in cash and continues to search for regulatory and legislative changes that could help the billion dollar industry understand and comply with California’s tax laws. Ms. Ma received her B.S. from the Rochester Institute of Technology (NY), her M.S. in Taxation from Golden Gate University (SF), and an MBA from Pepperdine University. She has been licensed in California as a Certified Public Accountant since 1992.
Patrick W. Henning Jr.
Employment Development Department
Patrick Henning was appointed the Director of the California Employment Development Department in 2014. Patrick had served as chief deputy appointments secretary in the office of California Governor Jerry Brown from 2011 to 2014. He was the legislative advocate at the California Council of Laborers from 2004 to 2011, and prior to that was appointed by the California Governor as the assistant secretary for legislation and intergovernmental affairs at the Labor and Workforce Development Agency from 2003 to 2004, and deputy director at the California Department of Industrial Relations from 2000 to 2003. Henning held various positions in Washington D.C. from 1995 to 2000, including special advisor and congressional liaison to President Bill Clinton and legislative assistant to Congressman Vic Fazio. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of State Workforce Agencies.
Previously, Henning was an appointed member of the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (Prop. 63), the California Career Technical Education Standards and Framework Advisory Group and the California Assembly Speaker’s Commission on Labor Education. He has also served as the chairman of the Economic Development Advisory Commission of West Sacramento, CA.
Franchise Tax Board
Selvi Stanislaus is Executive Officer of the California Franchise Tax Board, the second largest tax department in the nation. Ms. Stanislaus has held this position since January 2006. She oversees 6,000 employees and $60 billion in annual revenue.
Ms. Stanislaus is a native of Sri Lanka who immigrated to California in 1986. After earning her law degree at Lincoln Law School and a Master of Laws from McGeorge School of Law, she worked in the private sector. She joined the State Board of Equalization’s (BOE) legal staff in 1996. In 2005, Ms. Stanislaus became the Acting Assistant Chief Counsel of the Tax and Fee Programs Division where she formulated legal policies affecting every tax and fee program administered by the BOE, which collects more than $56 billion annually in taxes and fees.
Ms. Stanislaus has been instrumental in improving FTB’s transparency and customer service in addition to expanding its use of e-services. As a result, Ms. Stanislaus is highly regarded in the tax industry, which has presented her with numerous awards including the IRS Commissioner's Award (2006) and the Public Administrator of the Year Award (2013).
As a tireless advocate for community service and continuing education, Ms. Stanislaus is involved in the Asian Pacific community as well as sponsoring and actively participating in California State University, Sacramento’s Leadership for Government Executive program.The daughter of an accountant, Ms. Stanislaus learned the value of education and community service sitting on her father’s lap as he prepared pro bono tax returns for Sri Lanka’s working families. She says, “Taxes are in my genes.”
Jan Lynn Owen
Department of Business Oversight
Jan Lynn Owen was appointed as Commissioner of the Department of Business Oversight in 2013. Among other tasks, the Department of Business Oversight supervises the operations of state-licensed financial institutions, including banks, credit unions and money transmitters. Additionally, the Department licenses and regulates a variety of financial service providers, including securities brokers and dealers, investment advisers, payday lenders and other consumer finance lenders. Ms. Owen has a varied background, including serving as a strategic initiatives manager at Apple, vice president of government affairs at JP Morgan Chase, and executive director of the California Mortgage Bankers Association. Ms. Owen has also served in a number of other governmental capacities, including acting commissioner with the Department of Financial Institutions, executive director of the Department of Insurance’s California Organized Investment Network, and as a consultant to the State Senate Banking Committee.
Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation
Lori Ajax is the Chief of the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation. Prior to her appointment to that position in February 2016, Ms. Ajax was the Chief Deputy Director of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, where she worked in various positions dating back to 1998. Those positions including serving as the District Administrator for the ABC Grant Assistance Program and the TRACE Unit and, from 2007 to 2011, she oversaw the licensing and enforcement operations of 20 counties in Northern California.
Business Consumer Services and Housing Agency
Peter Williams is the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency’s Deputy Secretary and General Counsel. Prior to his appointment in January 2016, he was a supervisor in the Financial Fraud and Special Prosecutions Unit at the California Department of Justice and co-founded the Tax Recovery and Criminal Enforcement Task Force. Mr. Williams earned his law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law.
Melanie Fontes Rainer
Attorney General’s Office
Melanie Fontes Rainer is a Special Assistant Attorney General. She serves as a legal and policy advisor on health care. Melanie most recently served as Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and as Counsel to the Congressional Budget Committee. In those capacities, she led areas pertaining to women’s health and rights, gender-based violence, and the Affordable Care Act. Prior to that, she served as Chief of Staff at the Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office in Washington D.C. She has a B.S. B.A. in Economics from the University of Arizona, a master’s degree in Education from the City University of New York, Brooklyn College, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law.
California Growers Association
A lifelong resident of Humboldt and cannabis grower, Hezekiah Allen is the Executive Director of the California Growers Association. His work there is targeted at keeping policymakers focused on ensuring that the thousands of farms and businesses that drive the California cannabis industry have a place in the regulated future.
California Cannabis Industry Association
Khurshid Khoja is Principal and Founder of Greenbridge Corporate Counsel, a minority-owned and woman-managed business law firm founded in 2012, representing clientele in California, Washington, and Hawaii from across numerous sectors in the legal cannabis industry, on regulatory, start‐up, corporate, intellectual property, finance, and other commercial and transactional matters.
Khurshid is also a dedicated industry advocate. He serves on the Board of Directors of the National Cannabis Industry Association and regularly performs pro bono trademark and intellectual property work for NCIA. He was recently appointed to NCIA's Policy Council, which advises the NCIA Board on federal legislative and political strategy to reform federal cannabis laws and protect the legal cannabis industry. Khurshid also serves as a founding board member of the California Cannabis Industry Association, and has served as CCIA's outside General Counsel since August 2014. In that capacity, he also represents CCIA on California State Treasurer John Chiang's Cannabis Banking Working Group, which is exploring state and federal solutions to make banking accessible to the legal cannabis industry. In addition, Khurshid serves on the Advisory Council of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. He has previously served on the Council on Responsible Cannabis Regulation, and as General Counsel to The ArcView Group and the Emerald Growers Association (now the California Growers Association).
Khurshid has participated in legislative drafting, stakeholder meetings, lobbying, and executive agency outreach in connection with the California Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (and the amendments thereto) as well as amendments to the Medical Marijuana Program Act -- specifically, and most recently, AB 2679. He also participated in initiative drafting in connection with the Adult Use of Marijuana Act -- drafting AUMA’s pro-investor ownership definition, and successfully advocating for the removal of MCRSA-style cross-licensing restrictions and mandatory third-party distribution by the drafting committee.
Nicole Howell Neubert
Clark Neubert LLP
Nicole Howell Neubert is a founding partner of the law firm Clark Neubert LLP, which specializes in advising the cannabis industry on matters of corporate and business counseling, entity formation and operation, and licensing and regulatory matters throughout the state of California. Prior to founding Clark Neubert LLP, Ms. Neubert advised business clients and practiced civil and criminal defense at Clarence Dyer & Cohen LLP and Farella Braun + Martel LLP. Ms. Neubert proudly serves on the board of California NORML, as Policy Committee Leadership for California Growers Association, is actively involved in industry organizations including the California Cannabis Industry Association and National Cannabis Bar Association, and regularly speaks and teaches on the topics of cannabis law and regulation.
California State Association of Counties
In November 2012, Matt Cate began his service as Executive Director of the California State Association of Counties, after serving for more than four years as Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. His prior experience also includes stints with the California Inspector General, the California Rehabilitation Oversight Board, and as a Deputy Attorney General from 1996 – 2004, and as a Deputy District Attorney in Sacramento County from 1994 – 1996. Mr. Cate also is a Law and Policy Fellow with the Stanford University School of Law.
League of California Cities
Carolyn Coleman was recently named as Executive Director of the League of California Cities, after serving as a senior executive and director of federal advocacy for the National League of Cities (NLC) since 2006. During her time with the NLC, Ms. Coleman worked with the Congress, the Executive Branch under Presidents Bush and Obama, and the Supreme Court to help advance federal matters of priority for cities throughout the United States. Ms. Coleman has more than 25 years of experience as a leader and an advocate in the public and private sectors, including as deputy mayor for the City of Indianapolis, Indiana.
California Insurance Commissioner
Dave Jones is California's Insurance Commissioner. He was first elected Insurance Commissioner on November 2, 2010 and re-elected November 4, 2014. Jones leads the California Department of Insurance and regulates the California insurance market. Insurers collect $288 billion a year in premiums in California, making it the nation's largest insurance market.
Jones served in the California State Assembly from 2004 through 2010, where he chaired the Assembly Health Committee, the Assembly Judiciary Committee and the Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. Named "Consumer Champion" by the California Consumer Federation, Jones was also awarded the "Leadership Award" by the Western Center on Law and Poverty. Planned Parenthood, Environment California, the Urban League, Preschool California and CalPIRG have all honored his work. Capitol Weekly named Jones California's "most effective legislator" other than the Assembly Speaker and the Senate President Pro Tempore. The American Psychiatric Association awarded Jones its prestigious Jacob K. Javits Public Service Award in 2015 for his work on mental health parity. In addition, Jones received the Phillip Burton Award for Courage from the Orange County Labor Federation on April 23, 2015.
Jones began his career as a legal aid attorney, providing free legal assistance to the poor with Legal Services of Northern California from 1988 to 1995. In 1995, Jones was one of only 13 Americans awarded the prestigious White House Fellowship. He served in the Clinton Administration for three years as Special Assistant and Counsel to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno. Jones served on the Sacramento City Council from 1999 to 2004.Jones graduated with honors from DePauw University, Harvard Law School and Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He and his wife, Kim Flores, have two children, Isabelle and William.